“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
Man, you know, it’s a good worship time when you’re like eating your mask as you’re singing. Do you get that? Like, ah, so good. Um, it doesn’t taste so good, but it is so good, man. It’s good to be here with you. Um, to hear you guys singing praise the father, praise the son, the spirit three in one. This is our, our calling as followers of Christ is to just worshiped him in spirit and in truth.
And we’re doing that over this next little bit of time here together in our series called the upside down life. We’re continuing there. We’ve been in the book of Matthew. So you can open Bibles there. Matthew chapter five, um, beginning of the sermon on the Mount is called thus sermon, the greatest sermon ever preached because it was by Jesus.
The first eight statements therefore are called the beatitudes, the eight blessing statements that Jesus makes, which are valid use of life, how to live in the kingdom of Jesus. We’re on statement number seven out of eight today. And maybe you’re like me where you’ve gone through the first six. And you feel like you’ve just perfected everything in the Christian life thus far, and you have arrived.
And so seven and eight are going to be great. Or maybe you’re like other people may be more like me. Where you’re reading, God’s word, you’re studying God’s word. We’re hearing things that we should be in the kingdom of Jesus. And it seems like the next week you just find yourself seeing more and more of how much you can’t do it.
I think that is the Christian life that we read. God’s word, it illuminates the dark corners of our life and just points out ways that the spirit hasn’t finished, its work in us yet. There’s this hope. There’s this expectation that he is continuing his work in us. We invite that process actually in Romans chapter eight.
I want to read this, this verse to you here. Eight, nine through 11. You, however, this is talking about followers of Christ. Those who have the spirit in them are not in the flesh, but in the spirit. If in fact, the spirit of God dwells in you. Anyone who does not have the spirit of Christ does not belong to him.
But if Christ is in you, although the body is dead because of sin, the spirit is life because of righteousness. If the spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give to your mortal bodies through his spirit who dwells in you. This is the work, his spirit prompts us, and we respond to his leading to his word, um, all those different things.
So for the sake of context, in the book of Matthew, the first four chapters really set up to get us to chapter five. And so once we get there, we have a really great sermon, but the before is important, right? We have the genealogy of Jesus kind of where his heritage comes from through the line of David.
The birth of Christ. This is kind of an important one. John, the Baptist preparing the way for his ministry. And then we have Jesus led by the spirit, into the wilderness to be tempted and to have this battle with Satan. And we find the spirit using his power in Christ in an incredible way of an account of his, his work there then begins his ministry, calling his disciples.
We have Simon, Peter and Andrew, James and John are called to himself. Then Jesus begins healing people. There’s preaching in the center, God, all around the sea of Galilee. And even beyond the sea of Galilee is about 14 miles. If you’d go all the way around it. And so he’s kind of wandering around teaching and preaching in these different places, casting out demons, you know, as they do well, continuing to follow him from surrounding areas.
And all of a sudden these crowds are gathering. People are like, well, I’ve been healed. I’m going to follow this man here. And I’ve heard that he can do this. I’m going to keep wandering along in this way, the fame is increasing. And then we get to chapter five. It’s almost like the lights dim, the conductor like taps the edge of the stand here.
And he’s ready for the main event. We read this in chapter five,
seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain side. And when he sat down, which if you were a rabbi following Jew, at this point, you would know in the teacher, the rabbi sits down and begins a formal teaching time. And so you were really keyed in. And when he sat down, his disciples came to him and probably many other followers were there as well.
Listening. And he opened his mouth, which if you’re just reading your Bible probably sounds like a funky way to say Jesus said, but when he opened his mouth, if we read that in the Greek, I’m not going to butcher it, but it’s a new ego stoma. And it literally means this is a person who says, I’m going to share the deepest parts of my heart.
I’m going to share something so core to who I am, that I’m going to open my mouth and deliver this to you. So formal teaching most important part of who I am. Um, and here we go. Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart for, they shall see God blessed are the peacemakers for, they shall be called sons of God, Lord, I thank you for this teaching that you gave to your followers many years ago, and that we get to also sit under this teaching of you this morning.
We thank you that you have given us values and principles and ways that the spirit wants to work in us as your followers, this kingdom, that you are making, that you represent, that you started and began. We want to live in. So Lord, I pray you would open. Our hearts are open our minds, the spirits at work in this room this morning.
Not only Lord, just in our time of worshiping you, but the spirits at work in each heart, pulling them. And I pray God that we would respond to your leading. I pray these things in your name. Amen. Well in verse nine, which is where we’re going to land this morning. There’s not a lot there. Right? Blessed are the peacemakers for, they shall be called sons of God.
And I asked four questions. I actually asked a bunch of questions, but I figured maybe you would ask a similar for that we could agree on this morning. Cause that’s all we have time for. But for questions, I’m going to ask you to join me in these questions, honestly. And what I mean by that is not like answering it before we answer the question.
We want to honestly ask it and say, what does it really mean? And so the four questions are this. What is peace? Which you may think you have an answer for. What is a peace maker? Who are the sons of God? And then how do I make peace? It is important to come to the text without all of our lenses on, even though that’s kind of how we’re made, we just read into this.
But to say, what did these people here? What did the original listeners hear when Jesus spoke these things? We may have ideas about what peace looks like. Actually, maybe for you. It’s a cup of coffee and a really good book for others of you. It’s actually putting your kids to bed at night. The aftermath is peace.
Some of you, it’s your Bible, a journal, and like a really good view, whether it’s early in the morning or a sunset for some crazy people, it’s like after they go for a run or have a really good workout, their body just feels at peace at rest. Seeing God’s sovereignty over creation in this, uh, the, the ocean just kind of rolling in and sitting on the beach is your sense of peace.
Also culture has given us symbols and define kind of what peace looks like for us. We have the dove and olive branch symbol. You’ve probably seen this. You just naturally think peace when you see this. And that really stems back to the book, the story of Noah and when the flood came and 40 days and 40 nights of rain and storm Noah sent out the dove and he came back with this olive branch signifying that the flood waters have gone down enough that the storm was over.
They could leave the Ark. There’s also this one, which is a peace symbol, which you may know, but you may not know where it came from, maybe for a younger crowd. Um, if this is where the peace symbol came from, it actually is from a system of flag signaling, which is where it came from. Nuclear disarmament was what it stood for.
And, and you actually, if you had the flags down, that was an end for nuclear. And if you had one down, one up that was D for disarmament. And so there, we got the peace symbol. Um, this is called the Semafore flag system. That’s all I know about it. And the next one we have is the finger peace symbol, which we commonly see.
We have seen that over the times through history as a V for victory marking the end of war, and those used it for also the protests of, or this peace symbol. And so we come to the tax with ideas of what peace is. We have symbols of peace, our own ideas of what gives us peace, but there are really two concepts in scripture of peace, two main words that the text uses and actually you were an early listener.
All you would have known is the first one, Shalom the old Testament word for peace. It’s a common greeting that was given among people to wish somebody well to seek the highest good of other people. This word Shalom also means prosperity and security wholeness. In every sense of the word it’s, it’s a really beautiful word.
And so when they used it as a common greeting, it meant that you really wanted the very best for the other person Shalom. This piece was associated also with peace offerings. And so when people came to make their sacrifice, when they sinned against God and they had to go in this system of, of bringing sacrifices to God, they would make the sin atonement sacrifice.
And then they would be able to make this peace offering, which came after everything was done. And it was in celebration of this right standing that they had with God, the peace offering then was made to celebrate. Interestingly, it was actually the only one of the sacrifices that was made that then you ate, it was kind of a feast, right?
And so after everything was good and we’re celebrating this right, standing with God, we would get to eat and celebrate who God is to us. A feast that’s Shalom. The new Testament word is I reign a, which is not a word that they probably would have known. It was a Greek term. And so the concept of that really in the new Testament, scriptures focuses on Jesus.
Now I want to say again, if you were a reader here, or if you were a listener to Jesus’s topic about peacemaking, you would’ve gotten the old Testament, but the new Testament, Jesus peace has yet to come. Right? We as readers now can look back and know, man. He was going to go to the cross. He was going to be our sacrifice.
He would be RP, but these people didn’t know that at the time Jesus comes as the very fulfillment of the old Testament scriptures. Romans five one says this, therefore, since we have been justified made right by faith, We have peace with God through our lives. Lord Jesus Christ. I mean, the gospel is first bad news before.
It’s good news. The bad news is we are broken and we are separated from God. And we can’t do anything to fix that, that, but Jesus came and was our sacrifice. The peace also is used in Jesus as he speaking peace, not over a lots of different, a lot of different things, but specifically one of the ones that stands out to me is Jesus speaking, peace over creation, peace.
Be still, as the disciples are in the boat, things are going crazy. He this calm the silence. And so what does peace, not just a negative term where while there’s this absence of conflict or the end of a war, but really in the old and new Testament, there’s this sense of wholeness, all things. Are right. The enjoyment or celebration of God’s favor.
This is peace. So then what is a peace maker? Okay. That’s the next question that maybe you would ask and I’ll just give three observations about what a peace maker is in God’s kingdom. Peace makers really tied to the first point here, understand their debt has been forgiven by God, Isaiah 53 says this, surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering.
Yet we considered him Jesus punished by God stricken by him and afflicted, but he was pierced for our transgressions. He was crushed for our inequities. The punishment that brought us peace was upon him. And by his wounds, we are healed. We all like sheep have gone astray. Each of us has turned to our own way and the Lord has laid on him.
The iniquity of us all. Jesus came to make peace. And so peacemakers understand their debt has been forgiven when the conflict we’re not tapping into some like internal Zen or relying on some mix or blend of essential oils to give us peace. We’re recognizing that our debt has been so forgiven. We start as peace with God between us and God.
We can start there and begin to live. As people who know peace deep to their core, not some fabrication of a worldly piece. We’re resting in the cross of Jesus. Who’s initiated this peace between God and man. The second thing is peace makers are actively engaging in bringing about good and wholeness through Jesus.
Romans 1419 says this, let us therefore make every effort. To do what leads to peace and to mutual edification. Man, if I really understand the goldmine of forgiveness that I’m sitting upon, my whole goal in life is not self-focused. Then it becomes this matter of making every effort to do all that I can saying I’ve been forgiven so much.
The whole goal as a follower of Christ as a peace maker is to say, how can I bring about that same peace mutually edifying one another. Now also read in second Corinthians a really important reality check chapter five. It says this for the love of Christ controls us before we get to the next phrase, here is the love of Christ controlling you.
So continue on if not ask some questions. In the kingdom of Jesus, the love of Christ controls us because we’ve concluded this one has died for all. Therefore all have died and he died for all that. Those who might live might no longer live for them selves, but for him who, for their sake died and was raised verse 18, here’s this incredible invitation.
This is from God who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation that is in Christ. God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them. And interesting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, verse 20, we are ambassadors for Christ.
Man that is worth a million pounds like that. That is the most incredible verse to me. We are invited in to be ministers of God’s reconciliation in our world as ambassadors. What are you kidding me? Some of you were like, yeah, I don’t want that invitation. Um, but a peacemaker is someone who takes on a completely new job title.
They’re an ambassador for Christ. What does an ambassador do? Whatever the King tells them to do. They just represent, who’s sending them a peacemaker is someone who has a new mission. The ministry of reconciliation, pointing people to the one who reconciles us to God, Jesus, and bringing about wholeness and peace among those around us.
The third one, peacemakers do not stir up conflict or retaliate, but respond with peace. Matthew five 38 through 40. You’ve heard it, that it was said eye for an eye tooth for tooth. But I tell you do not resist an evil person. I’ll read this one, slow. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them, the other cheek also.
And if anyone wants to Sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well, all right, we’re all falling to this point, except when he’s like, turn your cheek. They’re slapping one, you turn the other, this is just not how I was raised. And frankly, it’s not how I’m raising my kids either. We want the kids to kind of fight back, right?
Or like protect yourself or stand up when things are wrong. This is what we do. This is how we live in our world today. But in a kingdom that’s upside down shortly after Jesus preaches the sermon. He goes, Matthew chapter five, a little bit more in depth and says. This is the new way of the kingdom. The people who make peace.
What I am saying here is to just, I guess, be careful that if you are a follower of Christ, your highest and biggest and most important thing that you say to your kids, to your family, to your friends, how you dictate your life is really from the scriptures. And not just a mantra that maybe you’ve been handed down, down in your life, turn the other cheek, Matthew 2236.
You shall love the Lord, your God with all your heart, with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the called the Shema. And people quoted this from old Testament. All these followers would have heard this and then Jesus takes it one step further in the new Testament. He quoting this, quoting this part here.
This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like, it. You shall love your neighbor as yourself on these to command tank, all the law and the prophets. So what is a peacemaker? A peacemaker is an individual who knows their debts been forgiven, and now they work for King Jesus as ambassadors with this ministry of reconciling, they simply represent what the King is asking them to do.
Okay. Third question here, who are the sons of God? Right? Um, this is a small part of the verse, the verse here, but this question might come as you’re reading this. Okay, well, uh, what is peace? What’s a peace maker and what are they going to call me? The sons of God for it? This could be a really simple answer.
And I think the answer is kind of simple, but you might be able to see this though, as a formula. Like if I want to be a son of God, I’ll just make peace and be a peaceful person and I’ll get son of God. And what I don’t think is happening there is that, um, the formula for salvation is very clear. It is by grace alone, through faith alone, not anything that we can do to earn or to receive this.
And so what’s happening here is we’re being called sons of God, because we kind of look like the father who is peace. Jesus, who is peace. Maybe you’ve had this happen before where you’re going somewhere and you’re talking and you’re like, Oh man, you, you sound exactly like your dad. And some of you were like, yes, I have had that experienced before.
And it’s not been a good pleasant one because my dad was a horrible person. Or maybe like me, your dad is just a touch above like tolerable. And so it’s a really good thing. When you enjoy someone saying that you look like your dad? No, my dad is a wonderful person. Um, probably teaching the kids in the kid’s ministry this morning.
But you hear that and it’s good news, right? If I look like my dad, that’s a, that’s a really good thing. And so here, if we’re being called sons of God, it’s because we’re looking like the one who sent us, those who are part of God’s upside down kingdom, make peace and look like the one who very much is peace, but they will be called out, right?
They will be called sons of God. People might ask you why in the world would you show this person love? What’s the point of reconciling that relationship, cut them off. It’s done. They moved away. You’ve moved on. There’s no point. What are you going to do now? Why would you engage in this reconciliation?
And you say, no, I I’m reading the scriptures. And what he’s saying here is to align yourself with King. Jesus is to be a peacemaker. I’m his child. And therefore I engage in this way of living John 1334, a new commandment. I give you to love one another as I have loved you. So you must also love one another.
And hi this, everyone will know that you are my disciples. If you love one another, you’ll be known by love. You’ll be known by the way that you make peace. And if maybe people know you in a different way, I guess you would ask the question. Do I really look like God? Why are they calling me a son of God here?
Or are they calling me a pretty angry person or a person who stirs up conflict? First, Peter actually encourages us even deeper here. It says, uh, first, first, Peter three, look at this. But even if you should say offer for righteousness sake, you will be blessed. Have no fear of them nor be troubled, but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as Holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you.
A reason for the hope that you have, that is in you. You do it with gentleness yet. I’m sorry. Yet do it with gentleness and respect, having a good conscience so that when you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior, Christ may be put to shame. You get an attack for being a good follower of Christ.
You feeling like, w who are you? Like, you’re going to be nice to this person. Why are you doing that plan on it? It’s coming, it’s happening. This is the point, right? That when they stick up and they point at you and say how ridiculous you are being so kind and a peacemaker here, you say, I’m telling you why.
Here’s the reason for the hope that I have Christ. This is my purpose. One final part of this section here, who are the sons of God, man, if you are a lady in the room, you could be like, here we go again. The scriptures talking about the dudes, not including the ladies. And I want to say, I don’t get it cause I’m not a woman.
But what I do want to say is be careful, be careful not to run ahead and just say, and they also really mean the women as well, because what’s being said here specifically in this text is intentional. Okay. There is a cultural revolution that happens when Jesus says to a crowd, not only of his disciples, but followers, men and women who have just been healed demons have been cast out there listening.
And he says, you will be called sons. Of God. Why is that important? Well, if you’re an ancient near Eastern Jewish person, you understood that the heir to the father’s inheritance was only the male in the family. And so men of the household will then in turn, provide for the women. But when Jesus says in particular sons of God and here and in other places as well, he’s saying men, women in Christ, you were all heirs to the throne.
You are heirs to the throne. This is not some family lineage thing. You are an heir to the throne, each one. So who are the sons of God, followers of Christ, Christians living part of God’s kingdom and actively engaging in making peace in such a way that people would call it out in our very lives. Okay.
Last thing here, how do I make peace? While we talked about the nature of peace in the old Testament, this Shalom, we talked about irony in the new Testament, Jesus being the eternal sacrifice for our sins. We have peace with God. So here are a couple of examples of ways this works out, possibly pursuing reconciliation with one another.
Are there people in your life who you’ve wronged? Are there people maybe in your life who have wronged you. We have a ministry here called celebrate recovery. Um, it’s out of Saddleback church in California. It’s an incredible ministry based off of the principles in the beatitudes. What we’ve been studying.
Those are the principles that they work through in the steps to, to work toward recovery. And so I want you to listen to steps eight and nine this morning out of Matthew five, verses five and seven here’s. Here’s the steps for self recovery, eight, eight, and nine. Evaluate all my relationships, offer forgiveness to those who have hurt me and make amends for harm.
I’ve done to others when possible, except when to do so would harm them or others. And then the versus happy or blessed are the merciful happy or blessed? Are the peacemakers. Possibly as you’re saturated with God’s forgiveness, you know, their relationships that you’ve either cut off or walled off or pushed away, or we just don’t talk to them anymore.
Part of our family, Proverbs 16, seven says when a man’s ways, please, the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him. And if we’re following after the Lord and we’re aligning with who he is, even our enemies as we live in this way of peace will be a peace with us. Now, there is one caveat here that we found kind of in the step and also in the scriptures that there are going to be people who are like, don’t ever talk to me again.
You cannot make amends with me. I don’t want to see you or hear from you ever again. And some of your like, yeah. Um, You can’t fix someone else’s brokenness. You can only do your part. So Romans 12, 18, if possible. So far as it depends on you live peaceably with everyone of living. As God’s people in his kingdom is living this completely upside down, down backwards way of life.
And so here’s another example of another backwards way or an example of living out this peacemaking, um, way of life, Matthew, 1815. If your brother sins against you go and rebuke him in private, if he listens to you, you’ve won over your brother. Jesus is saying this and we’re kind of like, wait just a minute, like someone’s sins against me.
I’m going to go and talk with them. Like they should come apologize to me. I’m the one who’s hurt here. Why are you telling me to go and have a conversation with the one who is unkind to me? The simple answer. Well, because Jesus said so, um, in Matthew 18, 15, he says, go initiate this conversation. Among those that know him, he also says, this is about this unity among the body of Christ, Ephesians four, as a prisoner for the Lord.
Then I urge you to live a life of the calling. You’ve received. Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient bearing with one another in love, make every effort to keep the unity of the spirit through the bond of peace. Then verse 14, then we will no longer be infants tossed back and forth by the waves and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people and their deceitful scheming.
Instead speaking the truth in love, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every aspect. Every respect, the mature body of him, who is the head that is Christ. We make peace. When there’s a disagreement, when there’s something difficult, we walk and we speak in love. We bring things up. We don’t just let them fester.
Oftentimes it’s easier to just avoid. And maybe you could even say, people would think I’m a peaceful person, but on the inside, I am living a chaotic life because I have just, just stuffed and stuffed and stuffed. That’s not peace. That’s not biblical peace making either that is avoiding, but speaking the truth in love, we confront with grace, notice that this does not just say in the body of Christ at fellowship community church, but it also includes the body of Christ at large.
And so keeping this bond of peace because of the spirit, man, if there’s a church that’s really hurt you. If there are people in other places in your life that are tied to other places, keep the bond of peace and unity through the spirit. By having some really honest conversations, man, if that’s a confusing statement to you, I’d love to talk with you because especially as a pastor, I would love nothing more than if there is a disagreement that we could have conversations and that we could be part of that reconciliation, wherever God leads us.
We live in a country who sees brokenness and divide all over in the last month. And the last month here in the United States, there have been 45 mass shootings. It’s an astounding statistic. When you think about this conversation of peacemaking, a nation is screaming out in anger and hate and often confusion.
And Jesus says life in my kingdom, my children will be known as peace makers as the people who were sitting on the Hill, listening to Jesus speak, you would have heard this beatitude as a laser focused bomb. That goes off, be a peacemaker. He says, these are my children. Well Shalom. Yeah. We know that we can give that to you.
We, we have greetings and we talk and we say Shalom to people, peace be with you. And they leave and all those things, but the Jewish people would not offer peace to everyone. They would not give this Shalom to those that were Samaritans. Or if you were a pagan, in fact, many Jews would take very careful measures to not give you Shalom.
And they would actually give you a curse as you walked by like a muttering under your breath. And I don’t know where this comes from, but there’s evidence that it was actually sometimes like they would curse your mother too. Like the mom jokes come from this biblical heritage of like people cursing each other.
If you are a Samaritan, you would be cursed by Jewish people, not greeted with peace, just because you are a Samaritan. Jesus gave the parable of the good Samaritan as an example of this love as he comes in contact with two different cultural norms, here’s a quote, just summarizing it that I love that talks about this.
The fact that there was such dislike and hostility between Jews and Samaritans is what gives the use of the Samaritan in the parable of the good Samaritan such force. The Samaritan is the one who is able to rise above the bigotry and prejudice of centuries and show mercy and compassion for the injured Jewish man.
After the Jews own countrymen had passed him by keeping this long running feud in mind, Jesus, as he goes and meets the woman at the well was like completely counter-cultural why would he be doing this? It was surprising. It was shocking. It was the way of his kingdom. He would usher in a kingdom of peace and peacemakers.
This is active and engaging and just like Jesus did. In most cases, it doesn’t first start big, right? Like. Miss America pageant, I think is where they say like, and world peace, you know, like this is what I want for me and for my people and for the whole world is just peace, but who really goes and accomplishes world peace, unless they first, as Jesus directs us here in the scriptures all throughout to say, what am I doing in my own heart?
Do I have peace with God? And then am I a minister of that reconciliation before we aim corporate and national, no peace with God wrestle in your own heart. The eighth blessed beatitude is an invitation to bring hope to a lost world. The hope of Jesus, the peace of Jesus. So convinced of his grace that we speak of it often the one who made peace between, and God freely offers you the chance to have forgiveness.
And peace and be part of that mission this morning, an invitation to pursue peace in the midst of conflict, not shying away from difficult, but speaking the truth in love and invitation to engage in building bridges, among cultures, with peace. And so we ask and we lament and we join in when things are hard and we listen to stories because your experience is different than mine.
As his ambassadors. We joined in this ministry. God, thank you for making, uh, Jesus to come and be our peace Lord. The old Testament system of sacrificing to find our right standing with you accomplished in Christ the new Testament. And so when he comes to speak about being a peace maker, these people were one day going to understand.
One day they would get it, that you were the ultimate initiator of peace. Lord, make us a blessing to our world that we would be people that make peace and be our part of peace. Not just avoid me. Thank you God, for the opportunity that you bring to help us to know you. Um, you want to be known and you invite us into this journey with you.
Uh, we thank you and pray these things in your name. Amen. May you carry his peace to the world this week? You are dismissed.